Shadow work – it’s so hot right now. While the world outside is burning, we’re all stuck at home, sipping on some yogi tea, soaking in a big cosmic truth bomb. Anyone with three eyes can see that it’s high time to heal yourself – individually and as a collective.
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t in a position to be skipping off to the local ashram to have our chakras balanced. We’re going to have to get DIY with our healing. Sorry, trauma, you’ve just been uninvited from the Zoom party – pack your negative vibrations into your bags, because we’re about to blast you with the full light of our collective consciousness.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present… my top 5 self-healing hacks, quarantine edition.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice from a licensed professional, simply a collection of tools that have helped me in my own experience.
1) Fancy footwork
That’s right – reflexology . It’s all the rage back home. Reflexology might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. For the sake of our healing purposes, there’s really no need to study all of the intricacies – which points correspond to which organs, and so on.
Here’s my simplified version of a reflexology treatment, as per the advice in Michelle Ebbin‘s book.
Before bed, give your footsies a nice soak – in some Himalayan salt, if you’re feeling fancy – then massage them with any slimy substance you have on hand (coconut oil is a classic).
Light a candle, maybe put on some groovy healing sounds. We’re about to get funky. You can do this sitting in a chair or on the ground, but my favorite is in bed, propped up against a pillow or two.
Begin by taking a few deep breaths, finding stillness and connecting with your intuition. Take hold of one foot between your palms. Say hello, send it some good vibes. Then, just let your fingers explore – try not to get in your head about it, just touch your foot in a way that feels good. When you find an area that feels sticky, grainy or tender – you’ll know what I mean – stay there and work it out.
Close your eyes. Send your feet some big love- without them, you wouldn’t be able to get up from the couch to get more quarantine snacks, and then where would we be?
When you’re done with one foot, sweep off the energy you just released – you don’t need that shit lingering in your aura. With both hands, brush the top and bottom of the foot in the direction of the toes. Rinse and repeat on the other foot!
2) Breathe it out
Who knew there were so many ways to breathe? You spend your whole life comfortably ignoring the semiconscious process that keeps you alive, then one day, you walk into a yoga studio, and some white dude named Bhagavan starts lecturing you about ujai pranayama.
As it turns out, there’s a breath for every possible situation you might ever find yourself in. That includes if you’re looking to heal yourself.
The options are endless, but my favorite healing breath is Holotropic breathwork. Build on a framework of everything from “modern consciousness research” and “mystical traditions of the world,” Holotropic breathwork literally means “moving towards wholeness,” which I think we’re all totally here for.
It’s a very powerful breath, and so, a quick hack for unleashing anything long buried – childhood memories, old grievances, that lime green Victoria’s Secret thong you bought in middle school… maybe some things are better kept buried, after all.
During my first Holotropic breathwork session ( x full moon soundbath – there was many a gong involved) I found myself on the floor with about 40 strangers, crying and quietly moaning, “I forgive you, grandpa.” As far as my conscious mind is concerned, my grandpa has never done anything to be forgiven for. The thing about healing, though, is that you can’t get too hung up on these details. There’s no point in sleuthing around your subconscious looking for stories – just breathe it out, let it go.
While the setting definitely added some major drama to the experience, you can absolutely do Holotropic breathwork at home. In fact, I would recommend it – the soundbath was a touch overwhelming. Everyone’s energy bouncing around the room – it’s a lot.
Luckily, you’ll find many, many YouTube videos to guide you. Good luck! And if you happen to hear from my grandpa, please lmk.
3) Dance yrself clean
Before we dive in – that was the second early 2000s rock reference in this post. If you spotted the first one, def dm me because our souls clearly have some major karma together.
No dance background required for this activity. All you need is a body with two legs and some music. Many cultures around the world have used dance as a way to connect with themselves and the Divine, from Sufi dancing to Shamanic trance dance. But for the sake of this activity, we’re going to keep things simple.
Put on your favorite tunes – something with a good, groovy beat. R&B can be awesome for a more flowy vibe, or some punky / emo rock to jump around and really get in your feelings. If making playlists isn’t your thing, I got you. Start here. It’s wholly personal, however; what gets the tears flowing for one might leave another totally indifferent. Sometimes it’s fun to put all your music on shuffle – I like to think it’s a message from the universe, but some will say it’s the Spotify algorithm. Just semantics.
That’s all! It’s that simple. You might gravitate towards certain songs – I find that I end up choosing songs that are connected with a specific mood / period of life that needs healing. Tbh, it’s usually ex-boyfriend related, but Russian music will also do the trick – an immigrant thing, I guess. Whatever you’re drawn to, trust it’s exactly what you need to heal yourself in this moment.
That’s it! Just keep going until you’re totally healed or you collapse – from exhaustion or sobbing, whichever comes first. Just kidding. You’ll know when you’re done. It’s nice to wind it down with some healing sounds at the end, and don’t you dare skip the savasana. My third eye is watching you. That’s where the magic happens – trust.
As you dance, get into your feelings, but try to stay centered at the same time, paying attention to the feelings and memories that come up. After you’re done, you might try journaling / meditating on what comes up.
4) Tune in
What goes hand in hand with dancing? Music, obviously.
There are endless ways to heal yourself with music. Today, let’s dive into healing sounds, frequencies that help you tune into a certain vibration.
It’s said that everything in the universe has a frequency, a pitch that it resonates to – you, me, even the device you’re reading this on. Your organs have a frequency, and yes, your thoughts have a frequency too. That’s where all our ideas about ‘vibes’ come from.
The mainstream Western scientific community doesn’t support these ideas. Masaru Emoto, the one scientist who published findings in this vein, is mainly embraced by alternative-leaning scholars. The yoga community loves to cite him, though. Take that for what you will. Either way, we can probably agree that you feel differently after listening to Mozart than, say, Lil Peep.
Knowing this, you can use music as a tool to heal yourself. Pop some nice noise-cancelling headphones on, lie down, and take a little snooze to binaural beats, Solfreggio frequencies, mantras (Sanskrit or Gurumukhi is best), or any music that feels healing and restorative to you. Beautiful Chorus makes some, well, beautiful healing music. See you in an hour!
5) Kundalini mercy
Your chakras are so thirsty… for these VIBES.
If the only yoga you’ve done is Corepower, walking into your first Kundalini class might be a shock to the system. Brace yourself for gongs, sheepskin rugs, holding your arms up for 11 minutes, and turbans… lots of turbans.
Diving into a full hour and a half of that is a lot, but so I suggest you start small. There are countless Kundalini kriyas to sift through, all designed to help you heal yourself and raise your energy in a specific way. I’m no Kundalini expert, but one thing I have picked up from my free week trial of Gaia is that Sat Kriya is very powerful for breaking through old patterns. I did Guru Jagat’s class on Gaia – she’s kind of a Kundalini celeb, if you don’t know – but here’s a free tutorial of just Sat Kriya. Of course, you can also do your own research and find the kriya that works for you.
A couple other places to start:
Russell Brand – if you like your spirituality with a side of British boy humor, peep his new channel. Ladies and gentlemen, Katy Perry’s ex-husband has awakened, and he’s here to help you eradicate your ego.
Sydney Strabala – a friend of a friend’s sister, Sydney Strabala is a Kundalini yoga teacher and artist. She has full-length classes on her channel, as well as short (under 10 mins) “quick fix” videos for all of life’s ailments – other than the life condition itself.
So, there you have it! A couple new tools for your shadow work toolkit. Ready, set, heal yourself!
I hope you found something on here that speaks to you, and I wish you all the grace and ease in the world as you heal.
And if none of this resonates, never fear – there’s a part 2 coming at you soon – that’s right, EVEN MORE healing techniques you can work with, all from the cozy comfort of your own couch. It is Taurus season, after all.
Comments? Questions? Feedback? I would love to hear from you. Drop into the dms – other than sending me a ping through the quantum energy field, that’s the easiest way to connect.